A single yoga group class appears to significantly improve symptoms of anxiety, lack of appetite, depression, drowsiness, fatigue and well-being in a group of individuals with cancer as well as in their caregivers

In December 2018 researchers from the USA published the results of their study to assess the effects of group-based yoga classes offered at a cancer centre. A total of 205 individuals with cancer and 77 caregivers (85% female; aged between 20-79 years) were involved in the study and attended one or more yoga group sessions. Each individual had access to two yoga group classes, namely a lower intensity or higher intensity class, and completed an assessment questionnaire immediately before and after the the yoga session. Not surprisingly there were significant differences between the patient and caregiver assessment of their symptoms of fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, appetite, drowsiness, depression, well-being, with the patient assessments being worse. Results showed that folowing a single yoga group class 82% of individuals (both patients and caregivers) experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms, 3% a significant worsening of their symptoms, whilst 15% experienced no significant change in their symptoms. For patients a significant improvement in the symptoms of fatigue, appetite, drowsiness, depression, anxiety and well-being was noted, whilst caregivers experienced a significant improvement in their anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep and well-being. When the two type of yoga classes were compared, symptoms appeared to be greater in the lower intensity yoga class with symptoms of fatigue, sleep and well-being all at a moderate level of intensity. With regard to symptoms following two yoga sessions there was a significant improvement in all symptoms. However, a bigger improvement in sleep following the lower intensity yoga group session than in the higher intensity yoga session was noted. Further research is required.

Lopez G et al. Group Yoga Effects on Cancer Patient and Caregiver Symptom Distress: Assessment of Self-reported Symptoms at a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Integr Cancer Ther. 2018 Dec;17(4):1087-1094.

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